11 Colum. J. Eur. L. 523 (2005)
James G. McLaren. MA, JD Brigham Young University; M.Phil Law Leicester University, England; LL.M European Community Law Essex University, England. Chief, International Law, 481h Fighter Wing, RAF Lakenheath, UK.
Since shortly after World War II, Europe has been protected by a United States-dominated North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), at the price to Europe of US hegemony. The European States made numerous failed attempts to bond Europe into an autonomous common defensive bloc outside the NATO structure. With the end of the Cold War, a common foreign and security policy (CFSP) seemed an idea whose time had come. However, the Member States of the European Union struggled to find political commonality and were unwilling to cede the core sovereignty issue of foreign policy. Wars on the periphery of the Union have acted as the catalyst for agreement among the Member States to support a CFSP and move toward creating an autonomous EU force. The nine Western European Union States met at Petersberg in 1992 and adopted a mission statement that contemplated a range of possible military measures: humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping tasks, and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacekeeping tasks. These became known as the “Petersberg Tasks” and became an integral part of the EU’s defense policy. The success of this policy could conceivably result in a common defense within the EU. This raises questions, however, about the continuing viability of NATO. This article chronicles the struggle for European defensive autonomy and examines whether NATO still has a role to play in the future.